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5 challenges facing Corporate Travel sales professionals in 2023

The challenges facing corporate travel sales teams in 2023 are likely to be more complex than ever. Keeping up with changing client expectations, newly emerging competition, building trust in a virtual world and, embracing AI into their sales cycles are just a few...

B2B sales are complex at the best of times, but in the corporate travel sector sales professionals have a number of new challenges to circumvent. Rising prices, economic downturn, geopolitical crises, inflation, new generation of travel staff - the list is endless.

*A report by BTN Europe recently quoted a poll that identified nearly a quarter of European companies are considering limiting business travel because of economic concerns, while average airfares and hotel rates are both poised to rise more than eight per cent in 2023.

We have highlighted just five of the key challenges facing corporate travel sales professionals this year.

1. Mind the Gap

One of the most critical challenges facing B2B sales in 2023 is the gap between buyer and seller expectations. Buyers are expecting more from their suppliers, and they're no longer willing to accept outdated technology, products or services. So, they are looking for value, which means they want personalisation and customisation options—both of which become increasingly difficult if sales haven't grasped the specific needs of the client or their stakeholders.

2. Lack of Trust

Lack of transparency from suppliers is a common complaint from corporate travel customers. To overcome this challenge, sales teams need to focus on building trust before anything else. That way, both parties can feel comfortable sharing information about their needs and wants without fear that something will be taken out of context. Establishing credibility early on in the process is critical to the negotiations that will follow.

3. Unclear Value Proposition

Corporate travel sales are highly competitive and mostly subject to formal tender processes. There are many suppliers offering similar products and services, requiring sales teams to differentiate themselves and effectively communicate the unique value of their offering.

Sales teams often struggle to articulate their value proposition in a way that resonates with clients. They may have done extensive client research but if they don't identify specific pain points in the business, then sales won't know exactly what they need to provide. They then fail to create compelling reasons for the customer to invest in them, other than price. Selling purely on price is ultimately going to affect the bottom line, which has been a common complaint with corporate travel suppliers for many years.

Interesting Fact...
The top three factors that influence B2B purchasing decisions are product quality, reputation of the supplier, and price. (eMarketer)

4. Multiple Decision-Makers

In corporate travel sales, there are often multiple stakeholders involved in the buying decision, including finance, procurement and corporate travellers, which makes the process much more complex.

A key element of effective sales strategy is building relationships with all stakeholders within each buyer company. The more people you have on your side, the easier it will be for you to sell them on your product or service; however, many sales teams fail to build these relationships because they don’t see any immediate benefit from doing so. Instead, they focus on making one person happy at a time instead of building rapport with all the key stakeholders, who could potentially influence the outcome of the sale.

5. Misunderstanding the Customer

In B2B sales it is very important to understand the psychology behind buying decisions. This is particularly true in corporate travel buying decisions, as it is a very large overhead, its complex and, it is often a long drawn out process that involves multiple people and departments. The financial impact on the buyer company has always been a major factor but, increasingly the risks associated with travelling and the negative effect on the planet are also major considerations. There are so many facets to manage before the customer can make an educated decision about whether or not they should work with the supplier.

5. Inconsistent Sales Cycles

B2B sales often take longer than B2C sales, due to the need for multiple decision-makers, procurement processes, and negotiations. When there are extenuating economic and geopolitical forces to navigate it is even more difficult to predict. This makes it harder for sales teams and their companies to accurately forecast revenues. Sales professionals need to be consistently in touch with their pipeline and regularly communicating, so that when their customer is ready to buy, they are in pole position.


A successful sales professional in the corporate travel sector is worth their weight in gold. We encourage every employer to invest in their sales teams' professional development - to maximise their performance and increase the organisation's business growth.

Travilearn's Strategic Sales - Level 1 provides science-backed content that will drive performance across your entire sales organisation. Our formal sales training programs are customised to corporate travel sales, to enhance the specific skills needed based on all the different stages in the sale, as well as managing the complexity of the process.

Topics Covered:

  • The Value of Corporate Travel and Maximising ROI

  • Evolving Business Models to Meet Client Demands

  • Building Relationships with Internal and External Stakeholders

  • Articulating the Company's Value Proposition

  • Strategic Sales and Business Growth

  • Common Traits of Successful Management Teams

For more information on Travilearn's Courses visit our Academy

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